UPDATE FINALE ULTIMO: 10:13 AM: Responding to the outpouring of criticism and general rending of garments over the decision of the Powers-That-Be not to have an industry-wide dimming of marquee lights, the Broadway League has reversed its idiotic ruling.
“Joan Rivers loved Broadway and we loved her,” Charlotte St. Martin, the league’s exec director, said in a released statement. “Due to the outpouring of love and respect for Joan Rivers from our community and from her friends and fans worldwide, the marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in her memory tonight, at exactly 6:45pm for one minute.”
Related: R.I.P. Joan Rivers
Additionally, the following off-Broadway theaters will be dimming their lights, even if they don’t actually have marquees: the Daryl Roth Theatre, DR, the Westside, the Lucille Lortel, the Cherry Lane, the Theatre Row theaters, Playwrights Horizons and Second Stage.
3rd UPDATE, TUESDAY 9:20 A.M: More indies have lined up to follow Jujamcyn’s lead, even in Beantown. The nonprofit Roundabout Theatre Company’s three Broadway houses — the American Airlines, Studio 54 and the Stephen Sondheim — will all dim their lights on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. The independently owned Helen Hayes Theatre — where Joan Rivers’s self-written and starring show Sally Marrs…And Her Escorts ran in 1994, will dim its lights, along with the five Jujamcyn houses. And in Boston the Wilbur, one of the last of the old-line Northeast corridor commercial houses (which has now been replaced by the nonprofit American Repertory Theatre as the go-to venue for commercial Broadway tryouts) will also dim its lights at 6:45. No word yet from the Nederlander or the Shuberts (or, as The Hollywood Reporter would have it, the Schuberts) as to whether Broadway’s biggest landlords will follow the trend.
2ND UPDATE, TUESDAY 6:15 A.M: Joining Jujamcyn, Disney Theatrical Productions says the marquee lights on its Broadway flagship, the New Amsterdam — currently home to the hit stage adaptation of Aladdin — will also be dimmed tonight at 6:45 PM in honor of Joan Rivers, who died last week at age 81.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: The lights of five Broadway theaters will be dimmed Tuesday evening in memory of Joan Rivers — and in defiance of theater owners who earlier in the day decided not to give the comedian the Street’s version of a 21-gun salute.
In a message tweeted out Monday evening, Jujamcyn Theaters president Jordan Roth wrote, “In memory of the legendary Joan Rivers, we will dim the lights of our Jujamcyn Theaters marquees, Tuesday at 6:45pm.” Jujamcyn is the smallest of Broadway’s three major landlords, but it is home to blockbuster hits The Book Of Mormon, Kinky Boots, Jersey Boys, last season’s Tony winner A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, and the upcoming revival of Side Show.
Roth, also the youngest of Broadway’s chief executives by about seven generations, made the move after the Official Lights-Dimming Commissariat of trade group the Broadway League announced that there would be no industry-wide dimming of marquees. The early timing is due to the fact that most Broadway shows now have a 7 PM curtain on Tuesday night.
Fred Zollo, one of Broadway’s most influential independent producers, published the following letter to Roth:
My compliments for your compassion and kindness.
Joan Rivers justly deserves this honor.
How can our trade organization be simultaneously so tone deaf and so deeply insulting?
My very best
Roth’s decision puts the competition — chiefly the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 Broadway houses, and the Nederlander Organization, which owns nine — in the position of looking like the derriere garde. Roth points out, quite correctly, that not only had Rivers appeared in three Broadway shows (Fun City, 1972; Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound, 1986; and Sally Marr … And Her Escorts, 1994), but she often was seen at Broadway opening nights, using her star status to champion live theater.